It was a Tuesday. I was supposed to leave for LA the coming Sunday, and I had no meetings on my schedule. I spent money on flights and an Airbnb room in Venice. I did this all on a wish and a prayer that I was going to get a manager in LA. In a matter of days, I was going to be in the city, and I didn’t have a thing scheduled. On the outside, I pretended I had everything under control, but on the inside I was spiraling.
“What were you thinking Cyrah?”
“These agents and managers aren’t responding because they don’t want you.”
“You knew you weren’t ready for LA yet!”
“You don’t have enough credits for people to take you seriously.”
How did I get here? Let’s go back four months. I took a trip to LA at the end of the summer with some industry friends. I had a meeting with an LA agent and manager. I left Atlanta feeling good about my monologues. I paid for coaching. I shopped for cuter clothes. I showed up to that meeting feeling like a star. I went into the room expecting to kill it, but I didn’t. My acting was just okay that day. No magic. My work wasn’t bad, but it also wasn’t stellar. I left LA feeling confused and defeated. What happened?
Then depression… Yep, this trip sent me on a downward emotional spiral. I was sad. I was frustrated with my lack of progress. I didn’t understand why I didn’t fully show up in the room like I know I can. On top of that, I was mad that I even cared.
“Why are you down about this?”
“This is a rejection business! You know that.”
“Man up and move on with your life.”
I felt so stuck. Looking back on this experience I now realize I was too attached to the outcome of this one trip. But at the time I didn’t know how to deal. I wanted to lie to myself so badly about how I felt, but I CARED. And I was disappointed in myself.
Then therapy…. After I recognized I was depressed, I stopped giving excuses and sought out help. I went on my insurance company’s website, found a therapist that was covered and started going. THIS CHANGED EVERYTHING.
First of all, this business can take you on an emotional rollercoaster if you don’t have proper perspective and a way to process thoughts in a healthy way. I was taught to not let this business get to me. To not care. But the truth of the matter is that I’m invested. I CARE. I can pretend not to care, but I can’t lie to my soul. My insides know when something matters, so I learned in therapy to stop with the BS and align myself with what I really wanted.
I love Atlanta, and I love the business in Atlanta. But I wanted to expand and challenge myself. I wanted LA. So, I contacted my Atlanta agent and asked her how I could get ready for the LA market. She said that she thought I was ready for LA now, and the agency could start submitting me to LA managers and agents.
Pause…ready for LA now?! In my heart of hearts, I felt like I was ready, but on paper I didn’t know if people would take me seriously. My agent believed in me! And she confirmed what I knew all along, it was time to make some moves.
So, with no guarantees, I cleaned up my casting profiles, got new headshots and booked a ticket. This happened over a span of two months.
Then… less than a week out, we had no one on the calendar. One of my agents said that the market was getting very competitive, and if we didn’t get any responses to just assume they weren’t interested. My heart sunk… This was going to be a repeat of my last LA trip. Pointless. But I’d been doing some personal emotional work. This time I was much more aware of the downward emotional spiral…
Instead of waiting 3 weeks to get help, I waited 30 minutes. I called my godfather to get some perspective. I told him how I was feeling, and he helped me to look at what was happening from different angles. This was the first time in years that I didn’t try to process something alone. I was so proud of myself for asking for help!
After talking with him a little while, I took action. I wrote “You are ready for LA” on pink sticky notes and put them up all over my house and car. Everywhere I went I was reminded that this was my dream, and I wasn’t going to let fear or rejection stop me from moving forward.
I called my agent. She put in a good word for me with an agent and manager in LA. I called my industry momma, and she got me a meeting with a manager I already had a good relationship with. (She’d seen me perform before and loved me.) Within a matter of days, I had four meetings on my schedule. I went from no meetings to more than enough. The day before my flight was scheduled to leave, I had my regularly scheduled therapy session. I was reminded to not dim my light and to go get what I wanted.
One of my goals for 2019 was to get a good LA manager. I flew out Sunday morning. I had my first meeting Sunday afternoon. Within 24 hours, an LA manager offered me representation! By the end of the week, I was offered representation by two managers and an agency. LISTEN! I was on an emotional high for like 24 hours… I got exactly what I wanted and then some! This process and trip was packed with so many lessons, and I just had to share them with you.
So here are my take-aways…
1. I don’t have to be limited by the expectations of others. If I believe in my heart of hearts I’m ready to do or be something, with God’s help I can create what I want despite what it looks like on the outside.
2. Feelings aren’t reality. The truth is that I felt like the entire LA market was rejecting me just days before I was supposed to go. That wasn’t true. I just needed to connect with the people who believe in me. The truth is that sometimes I will be rejected, and that’s okay. Eventually, I will get what I want if I just work through my process. So, I need to call up my support when I’m feeling a way. Perspective is everything.
3. I have to stretch my faith! If I sat around and waited for someone to tell me that I was ready to take this step, it would have never happened. Even though my Atlanta agent believed in me, I had to initiate the conversation. All of my wins happened because I stepped outside of my comfort zone and believed for more. Note to self, “Keep doing the things that scare you.”
Okay, so now that you know what I’ve been up to the last couple of weeks, what’s up with you? What is your next scary faith project?
About me . . .
I'm Cyrah Hill. I'm a woman of faith, an actor and an everyday black girl.